Don't worry, this super cute baby probably doesn't sleep that well either. Why? Because babies do not naturally sleep well, all alone, in a crib, on their backs, in a well-lighted room... and what is with the soft snuggly suffocation risk blanket??? Come on stock photos!! Stop perpetuating this myth!!
Humans existed long before the 8-hour work week. Babies were born and snoozed happily long before Back to Sleep campaigns and super soft acrylic blankets. And they did not sleep by themselves. They got carried everywhere, worn in a makeshift pouch, or swaddled into a bed and hauled around. When babies were hungry they got fed, some cultures extended feeding times and others simply fed their babies completely on demand (in baby wearing cultures feeding a baby every 30 minutes to an hour is not unusual, even at night, where co-sleeping is the norm). The way we want babies to sleep is a Western societal construct. We are forced to bend them to our schedules because baby wearing while at work is not widely accepted. We ask them to consolidate their sleep at night because parents have to wake up and be highly functioning adults. And we teach them to extend their time between feedings because feeding them half an ounce every 30 minutes is a nightmare. Additionally, breasts are highly sexualized, making public nursing something of an ordeal. In short, the world we live in is not exactly baby or mom friendly.
Don't worry. I am actually a huge fan of schedules. The first thing I do is move a baby toward a predictable schedule. I love teaching them to consolidate their sleep. I feel so proud when they graduate to a four hour schedule. And their first night unswaddled is thrilling for me. But the very first thing you need to understand is this:
What we ask babies to do is not what humans have done at any other time in our history.
Which means if we want babies to be scheduled and "good sleepers." We have to teach them how. Your baby is smart. But just as you will find when you teach them to eat solids and how to read, it is a slow process. You will need to be consistent and understanding.
Will they be happier because of it? Yes. A scheduled baby is a secure, happy baby.
Is it important? It is, unless you have a time machine, they are going to live in this world and society for the rest of their lives, meaning good sleep habits will be imperative.
Will you be happier because of it? Absolutely. You will have a better idea of why your baby is upset and the solution they need.
Will they cry less? Yes, they absolutely will cry less. Because you will spend less time trying to feed them when they are tired, playing with them when they are actually hungry. Or bouncing them around to try and get them to sleep when they actually just want some nice rainstorm sounds and a dark room.
Is it worth it? YES!!!
Just brace yourself. It isn't fast and it definitely isn't easy. Think about it like trying to learn a new language. Keep at it every day and eventually it will start to make sense!